It’s no secret that being a teenager is tough, so how do you know whether your teen is just going through a phase or is stressed out? Many teenagers feel pressure to perform better in school, do well in extracurricular activities, build relationships with friends, and stay connected with loved ones. This can be extremely stressful for teenagers, in large part because they do not have the tools to deal with stress quite yet, which is where you come in. It is important to pay attention to your teen and take note of any changes in behavior or mood. While many teens do not respond to overbearing parents, leaving them to figure it out on their own is also not the answer. We encourage you to try and find a happy medium in order to help your teen deal with his or her stress.
Perhaps the biggest source of tension and stress for teens is school, and rightfully so. According to a recent survey conducted by the American Psychology Association (APA), 13 to 17-year-olds today are experiencing higher stress levels than previous generations and higher than the APA considers healthy. Teens often feel pressure to get into a good college or decide what they want to do with their life after high school, which can take a toll on their mental and physical health. As with adults, stress in teenagers is leading to more serious emotional and physical problems. The same survey mentioned above discovered that many teens are feeling overwhelmed, not sleeping well, and having disruptive thoughts. They also admitted to feeling anxious, angry, irritable, nervous, and upset about life in general. Because teens do not have the tools to manage their stress, it is up to you to step in. By teaching your teen how to manage stress at an early age, you will not only be helping them live a happier and more fulfilled life, but you may be able to prevent them from suffering from anxiety disorders or depression. Here are a few tips from our Carrollton teen therapy experts on how to help your teen when they’re stressed:
- Talk to your teen and help them determine their source of stress – Teens of today often juggle several different extracurricular activities on top of school and community involvement, which can make it difficult to pinpoint what exactly is stressing them out. Sit down and help them determine what is triggering these feelings and how they may be able to better manage these activities.
- Give them tools to deal with stress – Once you’ve helped them identify what is causing them stress, work with them to find healthy coping mechanisms. Physical activity works for many, but other teens may do better with journaling, taking time out of the day to read, playing an instrument, or even meditating. Sleep is also one of the most important tools for becoming stress-free, so if this is something your teen is struggling with, encourage them to try and change their habits.
- Encourage your teen to relax – Suggest different relaxation techniques for your teen to fall back on, especially in times of high stress. This will likely be different for every teen, so give them a wide variety of options to choose from. Many teens benefit from taking a walk by themselves, doing yoga, closing their eyes and breathing deeply, or simply spending time with their loved ones doing something fun and far from stress.
Stress manifests differently in all of us, including teenagers. If your teen is feeling the stresses of school and life and you would like professional help, please give Lifeworks a call. We are here to help your family approach each day with a healthy and happy attitude, regardless of what life is throwing at you. For more information, please call our Carrollton teen therapy center today.